Online dating can be a shitshow.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
Hell, I’m still there… #foreveralone…
But the allure of finding true love in a world where Hollywood-style serendipitous coffee-shop/library/supermarket, “love-at-first-sight” meetings are hard to come by, often leads us back to the cesspool that is the online dating site.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know for a fact that online dating works.
It works quite a lot. I know of many couples who found each other using an online dating service and now live happily ever after, disgustingly loved-up and enjoying life together… not that I’m bitter. Of course.
But sometimes it’s not all sunshine and roses.
As someone who has spent some time (*cough*) navigating the world of online dating, I have come to be able to quickly recognise some of the red-flags that inevitably pop up, and I thought I’d share them with my fellow singletons.
1. Comments about your physical appearance
Whilst compliments such as “You have beautiful eyes” or “What a great smile!” are fine (and quite nice to hear!), if your online match persistently makes comments about how “sexy” you are or how “bangin'” your chest-melons are, it may not bode well for the future. Focusing primarily on your physical appearance suggests they are not particularly interested in your personality, your interests, your hopes and dreams, and other important elements of your life. I’m not saying to dismiss anyone who compliments your appearance (you are a dazzling human being, that goes without saying), but be careful if that’s all they compliment. As the majestic genius that is Cristina Yang of Grey’s Anatomy puts it: “Oh screw beautiful. I’m brilliant. If you want to appease me, compliment my brain!”
2. Invasive questions
Online dating naturally involves asking and answering questions about each others’ lives. However, if your match quickly moves in with an invasive or overly personal line of questioning, such as how many sexual partners you’ve had or how much money you earn, this is a big red flag. It shows a lack of respect for your boundaries and in some cases may even suggest an ulterior motive, such as looking for a no-strings-attached hook-up or hoping to latch onto your bank account. If you don’t feel comfortable answering a question, don’t answer it. If they’re a nice person, they will respect your boundaries and change the conversation. If they’re an arse about it or pressure you to answer – block and move on.
3. Quickly asking to move over to texting or social media
Obviously at some point, if you plan on going on a date with this person, you will probably swap phone numbers or add each other on a social media platform. However, if your match immediately pressures you to move off the app and onto text messaging, WhatsApp, or Facebook, it may be a red flag. Scammers use this tactic for several reasons, including (but not limited to) a) getting access to your personal information on your social media profile, and b) moving onto a deregulated and unmoderated platform means there is no one looking out for scam-like behaviours. Furthermore, if you quickly give out your phone number or social media page to a person then realise they are not who they say they are, you then have to go through the hassle of blocking their number and blocking them on social media, and it makes it easier for them to find you on other platforms or contact you another way. For the sake of privacy and safety, I recommend sticking to using the dating site’s messaging service for at least a while before moving onto another platform.
4. Derogatory/insulting comments
This one is less of a red flag, and more like a flashing neon siren going off right next to your ear. If someone you’ve matched with starts insulting you or making hurtful, negative comments about you – just block them. Don’t be tempted to pass it off as “banter” or “flirting”. If someone thinks that hurting your feelings is an appropriate way to flirt, they probably need to step back and take a look at themselves before re-entering the dating scene.
5. All their exes were “psychos”
Most of us have experienced a bad relationship. And maybe once you’ve been on a couple of dates, you will discuss your past experiences with each other. However, if they quickly bring up exes who coincidentally are all, by their analysis, “psychos”, they might need to assess who the common denominator is. Added to this is if they describe you as “not like other [same gender as you]”, this might be a red flag. You don’t need to shit on others in order to compliment someone; it shows a lack of maturity. It’s that simple.
Now after reading these red flags you might be feeling a little despondent about online dating in general – fear not!
Granted, there are some bad apples out there, but there are also many genuine, lovely people just looking to find that special someone. And hopefully, with these tips under your belt, you’ll be able to more quickly weed out the bad apples and focus on connecting with your special someone.
Have you tried online dating? Maybe you’re one of the many success stories? Or maybe you’ve got another red flag tip to offer? Let me know in the comments.